Fresh Hope – 30th June 2018

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Bible is very complicated, and that in order to please God you have to jump through any number of hoops, most of which you fear you cannot attain to as they are far too high.

This common understanding is nothing more than a ‘misunderstanding’.

It’s based on what you have been misinformed about during your years spent picking up stuff from people that you assumed knew all about such things. Well, the truth is…they didn’t.

In order to establish how simple it is to have a relationship with God, you have to ask the most important question in the universe; the question is the very one that Jesus was asked way back in the Bible…

John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’

I’m sure that the people asking the question were expecting some lengthy discourse on religion and how to do God’s work. This would have included hours of prayer and fasting and beating yourself down so that God might be pleased with you one day. But instead, Jesus blew them away by declaring that God actually requires you to only believe…full stop.

Now of course, there are so many others things in living a life of faith, but never complicate the very starting point that God requires…ONLY BELIEVE.

As we look at the following Bible account of a girl that had just died, you would imagine that there would be a lot to pray and say, and a whole lot to do in terms of religious stuff, in order for anyone to stand a chance of getting her back to life…

Mark 5:35-43 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’ Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’. Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around she was twelve years old. At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

And yet, after being confronted with such a major problem, Jesus really only uttered one sentence…’don’t be afraid, only believe.’

It’s not complicated. Jesus didn’t say, ‘if you pray for three hours I’ll do it for you.’ No, He said, ‘only believe.’

You too may be facing situations that seem impossible. In the natural, you can’t see how you could ever be healthy or how your family could ever be restored, but God is saying to you, only believe and the answer is on its way.

Get your faith moving today in the right direction, and get your focus simply on the God of miracles and you can overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

Mark 9:23 Jesus said, ‘Everything is possible for the one who believes.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 29th June 2018

 ‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash’ (Matthew 7:24-27).  

 Imagine two houses. They both look exactly same from the outside – they both have white-picket fences, and a carpet of lush, green lawn leading to a red front door. The frame of both is built with the same timber as each other and the exteriors made of grey-painted weatherboard. The only difference between the two is that one house is stronger than the other. You wouldn’t be able to see from the outside. Until a storm applies pressure to the structure of the houses, you can only then see which of the two is the strongest house – the one with a sure foundation.  

 Jesus told this parable as a metaphor for our lives. From the outside, we may not look any different from the person next to us, but it is when the storms of life come, and the pressure is applied, that the true strength of our character and quality of our relationship with God is displayed. The foundation of our life is often hidden, until storms expose what we are really made of.  

 Both builders of both houses would have worked hard. Both would have carefully considered design. Both would have spent hours contemplating a place of rest and safety. But only one was sure to survive – the one built on the rock. Perhaps the one who didn’t build on the rock thought he would never face storms. Maybe he thought he could survive them through his own ability to design a house. Maybe he knew of storms, but didn’t bother doing anything about preparing for them. But it was the wise builder who knew that to have a safe, and secure refuge, there was only so much he could build in his own effort, the foundation of the house needed to be on something greater to outlast – it needed to be built on the rock – which is of course a metaphor for the unchanging, steady, strong and secure nature of God.  

 The application for us is that we are guaranteed to face storms. John 16:33 says, ‘In this world you will have trouble’.  

BUT if we have built our lives on the foundation of Christ, the rains, streams and winds of life are no match to the strength and security we have in Him. Hence why Jesus said, ‘But take heart! I have overcome the world’.  

 If you are in denial that your life will be without difficulties, or that you can build a secure life without God, or that you can hear about God as your Rock, but not bother building on it, then you will find that the winds of life will knock you down. You will find yourself tossed and turned, confused and eventually all that you built in your own effort will be gone. It the words of Jesus, ‘it fell with a great crash”. Save yourself the confusion, heartache, wasted-years and turmoil. Don’t wake up one day wondering how everything you have built has gone. Start building your life on the foundation of Jesus today. Embrace the storm, with a life that is built on the sure foundation of Jesus!  

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th June 2018

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [centre your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]’ Philippians 4:8.

One of the great challenges of the Christian life is wading through the sea of popular culture. We want to be relevant. We want to be culturally conscience, but not culturally conformed. We want to blend in, but make a difference that stands out.

Paul was encouraging believers to “dwell” or “live” in place of constant meditation on only that which is true, honourable, wholesome, lovely, peace-giving, admirable, of good reputation, excellent and praise worthy. To “dwell on these things” means we live our lives continually feeding ourselves with only that which is good for our thoughts, and ultimately lives.

I don’t want to sound like a boring, old grandma in a 28 year old’s body, but I think we all agree that society is more than ever dealing with issues of anxiety, fear, confusion, poor mental health, lack of identity, sexual promiscuity, and broken heartedness. It is no coincidence that these issues coincide with our now unlimited access to all sorts of media, entertainment, and information. Our ability to now access and choose demands that we live with a high degree of discernment if we are to remain healthy. Let’s become conscious about not taking in junk pretty-packaged lies from media, music, and everyday entertainment. Consider what is shaping our desires and thought patterns. God? Or the World?

Have you ever had a lukewarm tea? It isn’t pleasant at all. You want the drink to either be committed to being refreshingly cool, OR to be comfortingly hot. Lukewarm serves no purpose.

Scripture refers to Christians who are luke-warm as leaving a ‘spit you out’ kind of distaste in your mouth also (Revelation 3:15-16). Having half of your mind set on the things of the world, and the other half on the will of God is impossible – you cannot be led by both.  

Music, films, TV-viewing, and conversations that are far less than excellent, praise-worthy and wholesome will not serve your soul. Does wholesome mean boring? Does pure mean conservative and unrelatable? Not at all. In fact, the opposite. Purity has power, and excellence attracts. How do I know? Look at the life of Jesus – the most praise worthy, excellent, pure, true, and admirable person there was…And what did the sinners think of him? They were drawn to Him. They were attracted to who he was because he set a standard that they wanted.

Living a life of purity is about culling out whatever doesn’t fit the description of Philippians. If it isn’t lovely, praise-worthy, and peace-giving, it isn’t serving you. It isn’t distinguishing you. It isn’t creating a peace or place in your life for the voice of God. Thankfully, we have the help of the Holy Spirit. He is described in scripture as being like fire. The purpose of fire is to ‘purify’ (1 Corinthians 6:112 Thessalonians 2:131 Peter 1:2). Like fire, the Holy Spirit clears out the dirt and leads us into greater purity as we surrender to Him.

I’m still learning, but I have found that I have developed a genuine distaste and lack of desire for certain things that once maybe didn’t bother me. There are some things that some may condone, or perceive as harmless, but I am genuinely turned-off by. I find that as I understand more about the truth, heart, and goodness of God, my “spiritual taste buds” become sharper and more sensitive to things that aren’t from God. The work of the Holy Spirit develops greater purity in my life. If you are struggling to step away from that which you listen to or watch, and know isn’t good for you, I encourage you to spend some more time pursuing God and understanding Him, and you will find that you begin to naturally hunger for all things from God, and begin to genuinely detest the trash.

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th June 2018

Here’s our final part of getting where we need to be in life.

(Catch up on the previous two, if you haven’t done so).

  1. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing right now, it’s where God has planned for you to be that matters

David was being faithful , in a boring, simple, yet sometimes dangerous role, as a shepherd boy . I wonder if he ever thought he’d be King one day?! I’m sure not.  Yet God had other ideas.

Your dream may be a million miles away from where you are right now. You can’t ever see yourself as being anything different.

But God has a plan and He has a bright future for you. Don’t look at where you are today.

With the eye of faith, believe for something greater.

  1. Different situations will make or break your journey.

Stuff will happen, because life happens. When things don’t go your way, when difficulties come, how you react will determine your journey.

It may either hinder you or help you, propel you forward or take you down.

See situations as life-lessons to learn from and keep moving forward.

  1. Your character will have to develop on the journey.

Character is what you are when no one is looking.

Your gifting may get you somewhere, but your character will keep you there.

Keep recognising areas in your life that need developing and work on them.

To get to your destination, YOU will have to develop along the way. There are lessons to be learnt that will develop you.

Thank God today for the journey. Thank Him for the destination and thank Him that He is with you every step of the way.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 26th June 2018

Yesterday, we looked at where we are going in life. (Take 2 mins to read it, if you missed out).

I promised you some pointers to help you, here they are
  1. Some people have good intentions to move on, but never get there.

I have been to Seattle many times via Amsterdam or Paris. I don’t stop there, I’m going ‘via’ there.  Don’t stop at your ‘via’. Move on quickly.

Someone on the same aeroplane with me got off at Amsterdam and thought that was it (after 1.5 hours flying!) NO…we have much more to do of the journey.

Sometimes people like where they are and only ‘think’ about where they should be and not do anything about it.

  1. Some people don’t ever want to move on.

Have you ever been to someone’s funeral and there was actually nothing to say about the person? I remember one such funeral. “He liked his pigeons” was all that could be said in his eulogy.

I’ve been to a few like that, they are actually sad.  The person made choices to not do anything with their lives. They didn’t move on.

  1. If I don’t like where I am, it’s not God’s fault.

“If I need something, it will come to me…” – no, if I need something I have to go and get it.

If I’m stressed or depressed, make a choice today to be different. God wants us blessed!   Get help, get praying, get in a good church, make some great choices.

You will start to see a change.  You have to do something you’ve never done before, if you want to experience something you’ve never experienced before.

Make a decision right now to make some changes and see a difference.

God wants you blessed and He wants you to get to where He intends for your life.

More tomorrow…

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th June 2018

Where you are right now should not be where you are going.
For none of us should have reached our destination, unless we are dead.
God’s plan for your life is ongoing and we should do our best to follow it.

If where I am is A and where I need to be is B, I can determine how I get there and how long it will take.

For instance, if my destination is Cornwall on the South Coast, I can take the ‘scenic’ route with no motorways involved, and maybe it will take me 12-14 hours OR I can take the motorway and maybe be there in 4-5 hours.  Same destination… however, I chose the route.
Some people will stop at a Costa for a coffee, others will wait for a Starbucks, some will stop with their own flask of coffee.
Again, you decide. Your choices.
Some will start at 4am in the morning to avoid the traffic and others will gently start around 9am. Again, your choice.
Some will take a 20 min rest break and others will take a 2 hour break. Some will even stop overnight at a Travelodge to ‘break up’ the journey.

We should think of our lives like a journey. We are at A and God wants us to get to B. But how many of us actually get there?
Wrong choices or good choices along the way, will determine that.

Some 20 year olds are further on their journeys because of good choices, than some 50 year olds.
It’s not to do with age or status. It’s to do with choices.

The Israelites took 40 years to get to the promised land, when it should have taken 40 days.  Going round and round and moaning and groaning delayed their journey by years!

Wherever you are today remember this: I may not be where I used to be, but I’m not where I should be, so I need to keep moving.

Tomorrow we will look at points to help us.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd June 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the book of Ruth in the Bible (we have been studying it this week in our summer Bible study series) you may be aware that Naomi (Ruth’s mother-in- law) left Bethlehem with her husband and two sons and headed for Moab.
Ruth married one of her sons, but tragedy hit and Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died.

I want you to notice something about Naomi.  She left Bethlehem (where the blessing of God was) and went to Moab (where the blessing of God wasn’t).

She went away happy, but soon became bitter and angry with God, when things went wrong.

So often we can blame God for our own mistakes.  We can wander away from His blessings and His covering, and then we wonder why things don’t turn out how we’d hoped.

Naomi made the decision to go back to Bethlehem and it’s there that the story of Ruth really starts, because Ruth decided to go with her.

Here are three quick points about Naomi’s return.
1. When we go away from God, it’s often the case that we seldom return the same.  She went away blessed and returned very unhappy.
Yes, I know God is merciful and gracious and Naomi’s blessed life returned. But in that space of time, it was a very different story.

2. The journey back to God is always better if we have someone to help us and encourage us. She didn’t take the journey alone, she had Ruth with her.  If that is you, and you need to get back to where you need to be, find someone to help you.

3. Going back may take humility, but its always worth it.  She’d been away 10 years, when the people saw her they said”Is this Naomi?”  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away, as long as you make the return.

The prodigal son went away from his father, but he made the return to a rapturous welcome.
That’s how God will welcome you.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd June 2018

It’s so important to become a sower in every aspect of your life, because that’s the only way you’ll receive seed to sow.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Notice that God isn’t in the harvest giving business; He’s in the seed giving business. And He doesn’t just scatter seed to anyone, He gives it to the one that’s a sower. After all, why would you give seed to someone that stores seed rather than sows it?

Think of this way: imagine that you are God, sitting up in Heaven with a big bag of seed ready to distribute. Would you give it to someone that would store it or squander it, or would you search for someone who plants that seed, expecting a harvest? You’d give seed to the sower!

When God sees you distributing what you have been blessed with, He gives; He doesn’t withhold. He will always find ways of getting seed into your hand. Seed will hunt you down! Why? Because God knows that what He can get through you He will get to you.

God doesn’t have His favourites that He blesses whilst leaving others in need. No, He looks for anyone that He can trust to be a distributor of the blessings that He has given.

If you’re forever thinking in terms of lack, then think about this…

At a wedding that we attended more than two years ago, every guest was given a small packet of seeds. On the packet was a beautiful picture of wild flowers. That picture was what was inside that packet in seed form. How disappointed do I feel today, when I tell you that that I have not seen even one of those amazing flowers grow in our garden. Should I complain that I have no harvest from the seeds that were given, No. why? Because they are still in the drawer where I put them. Every day I see that packet and think of the beautiful flowers that I should seeing when I look through the window, but instead all I see is dirt. There is only one way to see the flowers that were promised, and that is to do with the seed what it says on the packet…sow them!

Stop complaining of lack and start sowing the little you have. You’ll be amazed at what will start to happen when you do.

Start right now to look for ways of sowing seeds of love, compassion, kindness, finance, encouragement, acts of kindness…and just watch your garden start to flourish like never before.

But don’t be surprised at your lack if all you do is hold onto everything for yourself.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 21st June 2018

Many people wrestle with the question of, ‘What is my purpose?’ It is human nature to desire purpose, and meaning. Everyone is looking for a place of power, influence, and a sense of importance. We are designed to want to make a difference, and it can be disheartening at the very least, if you have no sense of purpose for your life.

For those wondering how to discover their purpose. Here are some ways…

Firstly, your pain is your pathway.

Everyone has walked through challenge and pain. If you have made it to the other side of pain, your purpose is to use your lessons to help others. Along your journey to healing, or freedom, you would have picked up some keys on the way. Hand those keys over to people at the start of the journey. Let your pain be a pathway for others.

There is a beggar in the Bible who sat on the ground and was spat on every day by people passing by. This was the same beggar who Jesus met. Jesus himself spat in the mud and rubbed the mixture into the beggar’s eyes – AND THE BEGGAR WAS HEALED! His eyes opened!(John 9:6). Why would Jesus spit? What a bizarre way to bring healing? The answer is that Jesus used the very pain, and struggle that the beggar experienced every day of his life to heal him. You will do the same for others. How you heal, is how you will help.

Secondly, what is your God-story? How did you first encounter God?  How you found Him, is your purpose in how you will find others. If you know what it is like to be a struggling single-mom and then find a supportive church community, then you will have the heart to go and find single-moms and bring them to church. If you know what it is like to have an addiction and have no control, and then find freedom in God, then you will understand people who are slaves to addiction and you will have a heart to show them the freedom they can find in God.  God will use that which you have experienced, to bring other people to that same place.

I personally can testify to this. Although I grew up in church, it wasn’t until older, God-loving women in my life starting investing a great deal of time and energy into mentoring me as a teenager that I really found my own relationship with God. In return, I now have a passion to mentor young people through my profession of teaching. I love helping teenagers find value, purpose and passion, because someone did this very thing for me. Part of my purpose is tied up in my God-story.

Remember that your job/profession/career is not your purpose, it is a vehicle by which God will use you to point people to him. If you have a career in acting, pursuing it with all you have – but getting a Golden Globe isn’t your purpose. Your purpose is to bring people in the entertainment industry to God through your influence as an actor. If you have a well-paying job, your purpose isn’t to earn as much as you can, it is to be blessed so you can bless. If you are a CEO, it isn’t so you can be in control and feel accomplished. It is so you can bring the kingdom of God to your company through your God-given gift to lead.

Finally, what are your gifts and talents? What are you good at? Don’t be something you are not. If you don’t know your gift, try things and find what makes you come alive. Recognise your gift and then fan into flame. Timothy said,

I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands(2 Timothy 1:6).

Ephesians 2:10, ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th June 2018

Pick-pocketing is not an uncommon crime throughout various tourist-heavy cities in Europe. In places like Paris and Rome, travelers are warned to use secure handbags, and have a heightened awareness in iconic locations and on public transport. Pick-pocketers (or thieves), are highly competent and truly professional at stealing. They usually master the art in pairs of two. They operate through the simple technique of DISTRACTION. They will use a child to distract the tourist, while the parent takes the money from the bag, or they’ll stand close to the tourist on a train, while one thief talks to the tourist, distracting them, and the other thief steals from behind. There is no better time to steal, than when a tourist is distracted. When attention is divided, the victim is weak.

John 10:10 says that ‘the thief (the Devil) comes to steal’. And his strategy is also that of distraction.

It is often in life when we are distracted that the enemy will seize the opportunity to steal from us. If He doesn’t bring the distraction, he will use something to hijack our focus. When your life is chaotic, when we are distracted with our problems, or your gaze is taken by something other than God, it is then that the thief will seize the opportunity steal what God has put in you. The Devil is after anything in you from God. Any blessing, any gift, and good thing from heaven – the Devil’s assignment is to take it!

Don’t let this intimidate you, rather become aware. Carefully guard that which God has deposited in you – things like hope, love, dreams, gifts, peace and joy – good things from God – don’t let the enemy steal these things in moments of distraction. If petty issues have your attention right now – stay focused, don’t let the Devil rob you of your joy. If genuine, big problems have your attention right now – stay focused, don’t let the Devil take your hope and dreams.

Sometimes we can blame the Devil for our problems, when in fact, he isn’t interested in creating problems, he is interested in taking our peace. We may be ill and believe, ‘the enemy is attacking my health right now’, or we can be struggling in our relationships and say, ‘the devil is attacking my friendships right now’. But perhaps those aren’t the things the Devil is after. Maybe he is in fact using those things to divide your focus, to take your gaze from God to the problem, to weaken you, in order to steal your joy and peace – these are the things that he wants to take. He is the peace-thief. So focus less on the issues of your life and more on not getting distracted.

1 Peter 5:8-9 says, ‘Be will balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th June 2018

One thing that each of us has in common is that we all have struggles. We all face things that frustrate and irritate us, things that produce pain in our lives. However, I wonder what would happen if we began to see our struggles differently…

Paul, an influential individual in the Bible talks about how he was given a thorn in his flesh to keep him from thinking too highly of himself.

It’s interesting to me the language that Paul uses here. He says, ‘I was given a thorn in my flesh’, as if to suggest that this was some sort of gift.

He then goes on to tell us how this thorn was a messenger of Satan, sent to torment him.

The word ‘torment’ is of course a word we don’t like. Understandably so, it’s a word associated with some pretty horrific acts. However, if you reverse the syllables, you come out with a completely different word… mentor.

Maybe Paul was trying to show us that his thorn actually served as his teacher. That it was gifted to him in order to keep him humble, keep him grounded, and remind him of his need for others.

What have you labelled a demon in your life? Maybe that same very thing you need to start calling a gift.

I know it may not look like a gift, it may not feel like a gift, but not everything has to feel good to be good.

I can assure you of this, the moment you start being thankful in all things, is the moment you stop spending your time wishing that certain situations would go away, and instead you welcome them, knowing, ‘maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here today’.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 18th June 2018

Today, every one of us is hoping for a better tomorrow…but is that day ever going to come?

 The answer is a resounding yes!

 In fact, it’s waiting to happen for you right now, as every tomorrow has to find itself wrapped up in one of your today’s.

 In John chapter one, each new section begins with the same three words …the next day.

 ‘The next day’ appears three times in that chapter.

 Maybe your life is punctuated only by those three words…the next day. It’s possible that your very existence is being rolled into one big mundane experience.

 It would seem from its description, that each of these days is staring right back at us and declaring that today will just be ‘business as usual’. But then comes that breakthrough moment, a moment when the mundane ceases, and the miraculous comes knocking on our door.

 John Chapter two opens with a brand new set of words… ‘on the third day’.

 These four words not only open the curtains to a new day, but a day that announces fresh hope for us all.

 On this particular third day, Jesus performed His very first miracle for two very ordinary people at their wedding

 Today, Jesus has a third day waiting for you too, no matter how ordinary you may feel, as we realise that at the very heart of the Christian message is a third day on which Jesus Himself rose from the dead.

 Today, I want to encourage you to be full of expectation that your third day is waiting just around the corner…meanwhile, enjoy every moment as you wait patiently for what is already on its way.

 Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

 

 Pastor Mark

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th June 2018

God wants us to believe His word, He wants us to take His promises and believe them.

Surely = I am certain of… without fail…with confidence.

Psalm 66 v 19 – “But God has surely listened and heard my prayer.”

Ask any man, there is a difference between listening and hearing!

Listen = to make an effort to hear                                                                 

Heard = to listen AND to consider. To attend to and to participate in.

God will not only listen to my prayer, He will consider it AND participate in it. WOW.

Psalm 5 v 12 “For surely O Lord, You bless the righteous. You surround them with Your favour, as with a shield”

If I am right with God, He SURELY wants to bless me.

When I get up in a morning, I know that God is not only listening to and hearing my prayers, but He also wants to bless me and give me great favour throughout my day.

Favour = to bestow privileges and give favourable regard to.

To promote me over another and to consider the favourite.

Psalm 91 v 3 “ surely, He wants to save you from the fowlers snare”  (He protects us every day from hidden traps and shields us from deadly hazards).

We don’t always realise what God is protecting us from each day, because we may not even encounter it. His protection goes with us and His arms are around me EVERY day.  It’s a surely.

Today, rest in those 3 promises.

He hears my prayer

He wants to bless me

He’s watching over me

Stop and give thanks, for they are ‘SURELYs’

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th June 2018

We are surrounded by the impulsive pressures of being perfect. The makeup lines provide us with cover ups that are “necessary” to looking our best. Social media has become a window in which we share the greatest edited versions of ourselves and we almost always want to talk about the good things that have happened in our lives and shy away from talking about the challenges we have faced. Are we doing so at the risk of hiding the beautiful scars that God has healed for the sole purpose of sharing hope to others?

It’s easy to believe the lie that our mistakes and imperfections are undesirable or that the healing God has produced in our lives needs to be hidden and covered, in attempts to eliminate our shame from past mistakes.

Embracing ‘your story’ can be a challenge and it’s easy to feel contempt, instead of thankfulness, in our individual testimonies and stories of salvation. But we must understand that it’s the scars that we’ve healed from that make the loudest statement to the grace and goodness of God.

So many of us came to Christ because of brokenness – broken hopes, broken hearts, and broken dreams. But it was His loving kindness that healed us and He desires that we boast in Him about the good things He has done in order to give hope to others who need it most. To boast in this case does not mean to show off but means to ‘proclaim’, and as Paul did, so should we: to proclaim that God’s love and power perfects us in our imperfect places!

Human error and the shame that comes with sin makes it so easy to hate parts of our testimonies. But God declares that He will forget our transgressions (because He is gracious) through confession (Hebrews 8:12). We are not always as gracious to ourselves.

Often times, we think becoming a Christian is about a perfect life; yes our lives are made perfect but only through Christ, not our own human efforts. We put people on pedestals for their abstinence, their seemingly perfect marriages, areas in their lives that are seemingly blooming and their blessings. But we must know that it is healed scars and brokenness that the world needs to hear more of because there are people facing situations and they feel like there is no hope for them.

No one is perfect and everyone has faced challenges that made them feel like they were walking through the fire at one point in their lives. No one lives without their share of heartache and each of us experience growth in seasons of discomfort and challenge. Don’t be afraid to show your scars, because it is the beauty out of our ashes that attracts the world to Jesus!

No matter where you are in your life right now, no matter the pain, the shame or the confusion, you are dearly loved and you are never alone. In Christ, you have a hope for a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and that future involves living your life to declare the goodness and the glory of God!

You are victorious.  Do not disqualify your scars – they are your testimony and proof of what God has done in your life. Someone somewhere needs to hear it! Someone needs to know there is hope for them too.

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th June 2018

‘Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand’ (Romans 5:1-2).

There are two things that we gain from our faith in Christ – peace with God, and grace.

According to what we’be just read, peace with God comes only through Jesus. It cannot come through someone, or something, or even yourself. If you are working for your peace with God, you won’t find it. It simply says that we find ‘peace with God, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST’. What a relief! Peace implies a deep stillness and rest. We are no longer hustling for the approval of God because we already have His unshakable affirmation through Jesus.

And we don’t just have peace with God we have grace too…and we stand in it! Grace is His UNMERITED FAVOUR. We now stand in His unmerited favour! Emphasis on the word ‘STAND’…we don’t move from this place of grace after salvation. We start in grace, and we finish in grace. We stay in grace.

Many Christians subconsciously believe the grace is for the start of our conversion to Christ, when we are ignorant, didn’t know better, and God is more gracious. Then we should know better with time. We think the grace of God runs out for us, and we should now be mastering the art of earning and deserving in order to become someone who God can love, use, and bless.

This is not what the Bible says. In fact God hates this very thinking that we so easily slip into. Scripture says that our earning acts are like ‘filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6). We don’t ever graduate from grace. We will never not need it. We cannot outgrow it. We stand in His grace and don’t move from it.

The religious spirit will always be yelling at us, demanding we move from our post, commanding us to earn our favour, and work harder for approval. But Jesus tells us to stand. Stand in grace and don’t move from it!

Standing in grace means that:

I don’t have to prove I am worthy of God`s love.
God is my friend.
The door of access is always open to Him.
I expect to be blessed.
I am free from keeping score with God. The account is settled in Jesus.
I now spend more time praising God, and less time judging myself.

When Jesus hung on the cross and declared, ‘It is finished!’ (John 19:30), He declared that the need to earn peace and grace is finished. The payment has been made. There is no ‘to be continued’ in the words ‘it is finished’. We stand in grace and we stay in grace, every single day.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th June 2018

The power of the Holy Spirit is so often dismissed in the life of the Christian. Many feel comfortable with the idea of God the Father, or Jesus our Saviour, but the idea of the Holy Spirit having full access to our lives can make many feel nervous. People suppress the Holy Spirit, unsure of who He really is and what He will “make them do” if they give Him full control. This is a tactic of the enemy in the life of a Christian because a Christian life without the Holy Spirit is like driving a car with no fuel – powerless and ineffective. This is exactly where the enemy wants us to be – stalled on the side of the road, going nowhere.

When Jesus left the earth and went to heaven, He left the Holy Spirit in us so that we could carry out the work of Jesus in our daily lives. The Holy Spirit is a gift. He was given to HELP us, not condemn or control us. Jesus left the Holy Spirit so that we could have constant communion with God, and always able to follow His voice.

The love of God is communicated through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 says, ‘God’s love have been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us’. If you are struggling to feel the love of God, become more aware of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Scripture says that everyone who is Christian has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), but not every Christian lives in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and not every Christian walks/lives in the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5).

The Holy Spirit was given to you to do the following:

Bring peace and comfort

Empower you to share your faith

Remember the truth and word of God

Help you understand scripture

Show you that which is truth

Counsel you and guide you in your troubles

Constantly reaffirm you and remind you who you are in God

Help you pray

Empower you to stop sinning

All of which produces fruit in your life! Galatians 5:22-23 says, ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. If these fruits are lacking in your life, give the Holy Spirit more access in your life.

Interestingly, God contrasts being filled with the Spirit with being drunk! ‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit’. When you aren’t living by the Spirit, you are living by the flesh, which leads to death (Romans 8:6). Someone who is drunk has lost control. They have become a slave to the effects of the alcohol that has consumed them. But when we are ‘instead filled with the Spirit’ we are under the influence of God. We are consumed and governed by the Spirit, leading us to live Holy lives, that results in peace and fruit.

Daily we must invite the Holy Spirit into our day. Ask Him to fill you afresh daily, and become conscious of His presence throughout the day.

John 14:15-27

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th June 2018

Many of you reading Fresh Hope today will be rushing to work.

The alarm clock did go off at the right time, but the snooze button got pushed a few too many times to make for a relaxed start.

You’ve already had to battle with the daily chores that never go away, let alone the children that need feeding, dressing and transporting to school.

Your only hope is that the day will be kind to you and that you survive to repeat the whole thing again tomorrow.

Whether a single mom struggling alone, or a fully functional family, you live in a high-stress environment, and as such you need to know how to take care of yourself for the long haul.

Finding ways to distance yourself from the normal rat race is of utmost importance before you burn out and become of no use to anyone.

Downtime is not a waste of time.

Rest is different from laziness.

Rest rejuvenates while laziness deteriorates.

Your body’s cells need rest to rebuild themselves and fortify you for another day of challenges.

The problem with many hard working conscientious people is that we confuse rest with laziness, and end up feeling guilty if and when we sit down and take time out for ourselves.

Rest is not an optional extra but an absolute necessity.

Find ways to rest your body and mind from day to day stress.

A walk in the park, a night at the cinema, a coffee with a magazine or a few hours at what my wife calls her happy place, which is an hour’s drive from our home.

Ever wondered why you crave these moments and feel so much better even an hour after doing one of them? It’s because your body and your mind is sending a signal to say ‘thank you for looking after me.’

Rest is also taking a stance that says to God that we are trusting Him to take care of what we are now resting from.

Most of us would have far better health, relationships and working life if we made more of each opportunity to take a rest for a while.

From now on don’t just plan to work…plan to rest.

Don’t become lazy, instead become intentional about finding a quiet spot and take an occasional rest.

Mark 6 v 31…

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th June 2018

There are three stories in Luke 15.

There’s the story of the shepherd who has 100 sheep and one goes missing, so he leaves the 99 to find the one.

 There’s the story of the lady who has ten coins, but she loses one and so she leaves the nine and searches for the coin that’s missing.

 Then there is the story of the father who has two sons, one stays with him, the other leaves his father’s home and squanders all his inheritance. The father will not rest until the one son is back.

Jesus will leave the 99 for the one.

Jesus will leave the 9 for the one.

Jesus will leave the 1 for the one.

The ONE is important to God.

I love this thought: We may feel it’s unfair for Jesus to leave the 99 and look for the one, until we are the one that he leaves the 99 for.

We may automatically think, ‘why would God be concerned about the one?’ However, that is the nature of God.

He is interested in the one. He is interested in you.

If you are sad, He’s interested in you today,

if you are depressed, He’s searching for you today,

if you are struggling He’s reaching out for you today,

if you are sick He is attracted to your situation today.

Because God is interested in the one.

 Don’t ever feel like you don’t matter to God. You do.

 It doesn’t matter where you’ve been and what you’ve done, God is interested in you, yes you.

Be encouraged today. God is looking out for you and He is looking after you.

 Pastor Gillian

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th June 2018

Today, I want to encourage you to be happy.
I challenge you to STOP for a moment and be thankful.
If you say you don’t have anything to be thankful for, then I say you do, as you are in fact ALIVE.

We can all race through life and forget to stop and be thankful, take a moment to pause and count our blessings.
Even in the midst of a difficult time, there is always something to stop and be thankful for.

When you cultivate the art of being thankful, you will in fact be happy.

Proverbs 17 v 22 – “A cheerful heart is good medicine.But a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I want my heart to be cheerful, what about you?

Proverbs 15 v 13 – “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.”

I want a cheerful face, what about you? We all know what people are like with miserable faces. They aren’t very attractive.

Nehemiah 8 v 10 – “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

If we aren’t joyful, then we are miserable. And if we are miserable, we aren’t strong. I want to be strong, what about you?
We all live lives that need us to be strong every day, for many different reasons.  That strength comes from God yes, but when I’m joyful in God, then I’ll get that strength.

Today, understand that joy will come from a habit of thankfulness and understand this: that very joy will bring you strength.

S = say
T = thank you
O = on
P = purpose

Take many moments today to STOP and see what a difference it makes to your world.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th June 2018

Are you teachable?

If the honest answer is no, then we can only draw one conclusion, and that is…you must be a know-it-all.

Why not change today from being a know-it-all to being a learn-it-all?

You will never reach your full potential if you don’t welcome the words of those that could actually teach you something new.

I’ve been able to wallpaper now for over 30 years. I was taught by my dad, who always did his own decorating. I listened, I watched, I learnt, and then I had a go myself just before we moved into our first house.

A few years ago, I needed some particularly difficult wallpapering done in our lounge. There were two really difficult angles around the windows that I’d attempted before and got it horribly wrong, resulting in me having to live with my mistakes every time I sat in the lounge.

This time round I vowed that I would find a professional. I decided that I would plan to be around when he did the difficult parts and would listen, watch and learn from a man that was doing it every day.

I was amazed after 30 years of decorating at how much I didn’t know and equally, how much I could still learn. As a result I’m a much better decorator now, simply because I was prepared to be taught for about an hour.

There are two ways of learning and also two speeds at which you learn…

Firstly, we learn from our mentors, or from our mistakes. Being willing to learn from a mentor is far better than learning from your mistakes as a know-it-all.

Secondly, we learn quicker from our mentors than we do by our mistakes.

It took me a whole day of frustration to decorate those difficult angles all by myself, yet only took me one hour to learn how to successfully do them from a mentor.

Open yourself up to day to learn something new.

Stop putting the barriers up when someone tries to advise you.

Don’t get so defensive when someone offers you constructive criticism.

If you find yourself closing your mind to new thoughts or a potential better way of doing things, then remind yourself that you are becoming a know-it-all.

Make a decision today to become a learn-it-all.

If you’re not convinced, then think of it this way: no one likes a know-it-all, but a learn-it-all is always attractive.

Proverbs 4:1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th June 2018

Imagine you are childless… and you are about a hundred years old…and God promises that you will be ‘a father to many nations’. Not only does the promise seem impossible, it seems outrageous! This wasn’t the only part to Abraham’s story either. Imagine you have already laid down your life for God. You have left your family, risked your life, and are in danger of enemy attack. You have fought foryour reputation, and relinquished reward in obedience to God. You have utterly given it all… and yet the obstacles remain, and the promise of God is still delayed.  You begin to feel afraid. You have questions around this promise from God.

Fast forward thousands of years from Abraham’s story and here we are today with perhaps the very same feelings and questions as AbrahamWhy? How? Where? And when?

But maybe God has a question for us – how will we respond when the promise seems impossible… even outrageous perhaps?

Abraham’s response after all the sacrifice, and waiting, is recorded as an example for us in Romans 4:18-21:

‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him…Without weakening in his faith, HE FACED THE FACT that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was dead. YET he did not waver THROUGH unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully PERSUADED that God had power to do what He had promised’.

From this account we have just read in Romans, Abraham sounds so strong and capable, but this account skips over some of Abraham’s more weak and weary moments in the process of his delayed promise. Let’s go back to Genesis to see what Abraham was feeling in the midst of the delayed promise…

In Genesis 15, Abraham actually questions God. He loves God, but he enters into a dialogue with God asking how on earth this promise could possibly come into fruition. Romans does not mention this. Why? Because being strong in faith, and walking through delayed promise well, doesn’t mean you are absent of questions. Romans says that Abraham ‘did not waver THROUGH unbelief. This means he went through unbelief, but didn’t waver in ultimately trusting God. God did not challenge Abraham for asking questions, but instead amply replied to him, reaffirmed him, and got him THROUGH the delayed promise.

We also read that Abraham was ‘strengthened in his faith…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised’. Persuaded’ implies that Abraham needed some convincing.  In his feelings of doubt, God persuaded Abraham that the promise would come, yet Abraham is remembered and esteemed in Romans for being a man of righteousness despite his need for affirmation and confirmation from God.

We can also see that in the midst of the delayed promise, Abraham faced the facts. ‘He faced the fact that his body was as good as dead’. The deal breaker is in the word YET. He faced the reality YET he did not waver THROUGH the unbelief.

Like Abraham, it is okay to feel afraid, it is okay to have feelings of doubt, it is okay to face hard facts, it is okay to ask God your deep questions, it is okay to have to need the affirmation and confirmation of God. It doesn’t make you weak. Let your eyes recognise the harsh reality, but let your heart say, “YET I will walk through my fear and doubt, with an unwavering belief in the nature of God”.

We stand on the other side of this story, with access to a Bible full of stories and testimonies of God’s character. Today, we have access to ample theological resources and information about God. We have far more than Abraham did. If Abraham can do it, so can we. Abrahams trust in God wasn’t based on ideas and head knowledge. It was heart knowledge. He had relationship with God, and therefore knew His character. He knew that ultimately the word of God would not return void.

Isaiah 55:11 ‘…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 6th June 2018

Jesus is described in scripture as being both a warrior (Revelation 19:11-16) and a ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).

This is also a reflection of who God has made US to be – powerful, yet also peace-filled people.

Weak and anxious Christians, tossed and turned by the waves of life, is not our mandate. Yes we are nothing without God, but too often we forget that we are not without God. If God is IN us, then surely we are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. One aspect in which God has empowered us is through the ability to choose.

God could have made us robots, but He made us powerful by allowing us to create a life through our choices. We see this in the beginning when God gave Adam and Eve a choice of two trees (one of life and one of death) (Genesis 2:16 & 17). God’s desire is for us to align our thinking, desires and therefore choices with His voice, heart and nature, thus making us powerful people, who have the ability to create the peace-filled lives He intended for us.

When we forget that we are powerful, life begins to mould us, instead of us steering it (by the guidance of God). Yes, life throws curve balls and challenges that are totally out of our control, BUT we have the power to choose our response. Rather than working through problems, we can instead let problems work us down. Rather than letting emotions serve us, we can let our emotions master us. Rather than delaying gratification for long-term fruit, we can let our instant desires overrule. Rather than creating an atmosphere and culture of peace in our life by using life-giving, God-inspired words, we choose to use words that talk us into depression, and create an atmosphere of death and destruction. You can see how our choices create our life!

Imagine you have been given a thousand pound cheque. That thousand pound cheque is useless unless you take it to the bank, exchange words with a bank teller, deposit the cheque, and then withdraw the cash. So is the Christian life. We are given power, but unless we take what God has given us (the ability to choose), and use our words to make wise deposits, how can we possibly withdraw a life of peace?

A life of peace requires intentionality and sometimes you have to even fight for it (The Prince of Peace was also a warrior). If your life is lacking peace, perhaps check in on your words and language. Your words create your life. They either usher in peace, or usher in destruction.

Scripture refers to the tongue being like a rudder of a small ship. And the same with mighty ships, though they are massive and driven by fierce winds, yet they are steered by a tiny rudder at the direction of the person at the helm’ (James 3:4 PTL). Your tongue determines where you go. A tiny rudder steers a whole ship. If the rudder isn’t steering a ship, what is? The wind is. If your tongue isn’t steering your life, what is? The winds of life are – external factors in your life will steer your life and have you going to all sorts of places, until you take control! Your tongue doesn’t control you, but it can control you. Don’t become scared of your tongue, as if all it can do is destroy and mislead. God made it for the opposite – to bring healing, life and peace! Just take ownership of it! Part of being a powerful person and living a life of peace is doing what is right, not what you always want. Cultivate peace through your power to choose today, starting with your words.

In the words of Spiderman, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th June 2018

Centuries ago, wine was stored in leather wine skins rather than bottles. When the wine skins were new, they were soft and pliable, but as they aged they became hardened and couldn’t expand. If new wine was poured in an old wine skin, the container would burst and the wine would be lost.

 When Jesus wanted to encourage His followers to enlarge their visions, He reminded them, “You can’t put new wine into old wine skins.”

(Matthew 9 v 17). He was saying that you cannot have a larger life if you have a restricted attitude.

 Just because you’re young, it doesn’t mean that your thinking hasn’t already got old and hardened.

 It may be right now that you’ve already developed a mind set that says that you’ll never do anything successful or enjoy the good things in life that you used to dream of.

 Today, I encourage you to stretch your faith and vision and get rid of that old restrictive thinking that’s holding you back from all that God has got for your life.

 Start making room in your thinking for what God has in store for you. You must conceive in your mind and heart before you can receive it.

 Ask yourself a simple question: If God poured a dream into your life today would it just quickly disappear through the cracks of your old attitude?

 The key today is to allow your heart to become pliable and supple again to all of the great things that God has in store for you. He’s never short on ideas for your life, but you may be short on space to contain them.

 Expect God’s favour to help you break out the rut that you’re in and expect to excel in whatever you do.

 Expect great things from God…attempt great things for God.

 Pastor Mark

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th June 2018

In the book of John, found in the New Testament of The Bible, Jesus encounters a man by the name of Simon.

Simon is brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, and shortly after meeting him, Jesus informs him that his name will no longer be Simon, but Peter (meaning ‘rock’).

In the space of one conversation, one encounter, this man gets given a new name…

Like Simon, you too may have a name attached to your life that is contradictory to the name that God has for you.

You may have been labelled ‘ugly’, ‘depressed’, ‘failure’, ‘unwanted’, and it’s possible that you have begun to believe the names you have been given by life, by people and even by yourself.

You need to know today that you are not what people say or don’t say about you. You are not what you see when you look in the mirror. Your value is not found in what you do or in what you’ve done, your value is found in who Jesus says you are.

God wants to remind you that you’re loved, that you’re chosen, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows the plans that He has for you, plans for your prosperity, plans to give you hope and a future.

What names have you been wrongfully given in this life?

Make a decision to take off those labels and begin to declare a new name over yourself today.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 2nd June 2018

I know as a Christian that God would always want me to keep my eyes ‘fixed’ on Him.  So many things in life try to take our focus.
I also know that there are times in my life when God calls me to ‘step out’… maybe in faith about a situation, a certain calling on my life, a new direction… these are those times that God asks me to trust Him and to keep my eyes fixed.

In Matthew chapter 14 we read the story of how Peter walked on the water.  This happened just after a very busy time of ministering to people, seeing many miracles and witnessing first-hand the amazing power of God at work.

I would like you to notice the following things.

1. In Verse 29 Jesus called him to “come” and he did! He stepped out of the boat and into the unknown. God loves it when we obey His command and follow His voice.  Especially when it’s unknown territory that we are walking into.

2. In verse 30 It says “but when he saw the wind, he got afraid ”  – circumstances are there to distract us from what God has called us to do. Beware of circumstances that will try to take your focus and take you down.

3. The longer you look, the more you will be afraid. – verse 30 goes on to say “He started to sink”.  The longer he looked at those waves and felt that strong wind, the more he lost his focus on God and began to fail.

4. Your faith needs feeding.  See verse 31 – “oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him.  If you want to remain strong, you have to remain focused and to remain focused on your ‘mission’ you will always need faith. So FEED your faith with God’s words and God’s promises. It will help you to trust and not doubt.

When you and I learn from these four things, we will be able to do whatever God asks of us and not fail.

I want to experience all that God has for me.  I just have to learn to keep my eyes ON HIM.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st June 2018

We all deal with insecurities of varying shapes and sizes. Even when we overcome them, we still have to remain vigilant, fighting off sour thoughts and other things that stir up new feelings of insecurity.

There are many causes of insecurity, for example rejection in childhood; by a parent, a teacher, abandonment, criticism, abuse, neglect, lack of love in the past, and all these things hurt badly. Our upbringing is not the only cause of insecurity. We may feel insecure as a result of a traumatic divorce, the trials of old age, or even concern about our appearance. Whatever the cause, whoever the cause, it’s not that person’s problem now, it’s ours! We therefore must find ways to deal with it as it can rob us of happiness, suppress our potential and damage our relationships with others.

Insecurity stops us from thinking the way we’re supposed to think about ourselves. There are strongholds in our thinking left over from our past. Our emotions don’t respond the way they’re supposed to respond in situations. We start looking at ourselves negatively, constantly comparing ourselves with those around us, self-talk starts inside the head, “I sound so dumb when I talk, I always say the wrong thing, why did I come, I wish I was home, I don’t fit in here, I don’t fit in anywhere! What’s wrong with me?”

How about, ten people congratulate you on a job well done, but one person has something negative to say and that is what you focus on. Sound familiar? Insecurity can zap our strength, put out our fire, hold us back, and ultimately cause us to be ineffective for Christ.

“Not only will insecurity cheat us of reaching and then operating consistently at maximum potential, it also will turn our co-workers into threats and trap us into becoming posers.” -Beth Moore

The opposite of insecurity is security and the Bible tells us that in in order to overcome insecurity we must understand that security can only be found in the peace of God by embracing our identity as God’s beloved children.  In other words to see ourselves the way God sees us. Philippians 4:6 – 9 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

We need to ensure we look in the right place and stop looking for security from money, your health, your husband or boyfriend, your friends, your job, your beauty, or anyone or anything else that’s not God Himself, who is the only true source of security. Recognise that you won’t find security by chasing it down through circumstances (such as by thinking that you’ll feel better about yourself once you just lose some weight, find a boyfriend, get a better job, buy a newer car, etc).

Insecurities also make us focus on what other people think of us more than whom God says we are. When you ask, “What do others think of me?” realise that, no matter what they think, God loves you fully, just as you are. He cares about your deepest needs.  He will uphold your cause. He sees who you really are, and He loves you anyway. Let go of anxiety over what other people think of you (from your appearance to your performance). Don’t compare yourself with others; instead, embrace the unique person that God created you to be. Don’t let harsh judgment from other people bother you, because God’s opinion is the only one that ultimately matters. Pray for the courage you need to make decisions that please God. Read Scripture about God’s love for you and begin to see yourself through God’s eyes not what the world says.

I am a new creation in Him!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am righteous and holy.

“And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:24

I am saved by grace as a gift, not because of my performance.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Christine Mudenha
A daily devotion for a better way of living.